Interesting article on the trend of churches to start thinking about the poor, needy and sick in our community and world. Sounds like what Jesus would want us to be focused on, doesn’t it? I’m excited to think that the church could be known for helping those in need. Here’s a clip from ehe Bangor Daily News:

Evangelical megachurches, virtually unheard of 30 years ago, are now vital sources of social welfare in urban America. African-American congregations such as the Potter’s House in Dallas, founded by Bishop T.D. Jakes, can engage a volunteer army of 28,000 believers in ministries ranging from literacy to drug rehabilitation. Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” has organized a vast network of churches to confront the issue of AIDS. “Because of their longevity and trust in the community,” Warren has said, “churches can actually do a better job long-term than either governments or” non-governmental organizations in tackling the pandemic.

Whether that’s true, these evangelicals — Bible-believing and socially conservative — are redefining social justice. They’re mindful of the material conditions that breed poverty and despair, but they emphasize spiritual rebirth. Though willing to partner with government agencies, they prefer to work at the grass roots, one family at a

Meanwhile, churches and faith-based organizations are growing enormously in their international outreach. Groups such as World Vision are often the first responders to natural disasters. The Association of Evangelical Relief and Development Organizations, founded in 1978, now boasts 47 member groups in dozens of countries. As anyone familiar with these organizations knows, they help people regardless of creed, race or sexual orientation — another democratic (and evangelical) ideal.

It is surely no thirst for theocracy but rather a love for their neighbor that sends American evangelicals into harm’s way: into refugee camps in Sudan; into AIDS clinics in Somalia, South Africa and Uganda; into brothels to help women forced into sexual slavery; and into prisons and courts to advocate for the victims of political and religious repression.